Donaldson's gem gives Brevard crucial winApril 10, 2015
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – A masterful pitching performance from Hunter Donaldson and three fifth-inning runs gave Brevard a win in the opener of a critical three-game South Atlantic Conference series at Tusculum.
Donaldson pitched a complete game in the 5-1 win with the Pioneers (24-13, 16-8 SAC) spoiling his bid for a scoreless outing with two outs in the ninth. Donaldson worked out of several jams in the contest, allowing the single run on seven hits while striking out seven batters.
The Brevard (18-23, 12-15 SAC) hurler set the tone for the game in the third inning. With Brevard leading 1-0, Donaldson allowed a single to third baseman Nick Rodriguez before back-to-back bunt singles loaded the bases with no outs in the inning. Jeremiah Tullidge worked the count full before striking out swinging to provide the first out of the inning.
Three pitches later, Brevard turned its nation-leading 42nd double play of the season when shortstop Pat Quinn gobbled up a ground ball, stepped on the bag, and threw to Kody Spencer to complete the twin killing and escape the inning unscathed, contributing to Tusculum’s total of nine men stranded on the basepaths in the contest.
In addition to his 149 pitches on the mound, Donaldson went 2-for-3 with an RBI at the plate to aid his own cause in the winning effort. Christian Dix was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, while Ryan Smith and Brock Helton were both 1-for-4 with an RBI.
The Tornados took advantage of a two-out error by the Pioneers in the first, scoring on a Smith RBI double to put the first run on the board. Christian Dix made the score 2-0 in the fourth when he crossed the plate on a wild pitch in the fourth inning, but the dagger came one inning later. A single and a walk put two men on with none out. An attempted steal by William O’Hara at third base appeared to be thwarted, but the throw sailed high and allowed O’Hara to cross the plate.
Moments later, Brock Helton’s single allowed Matthew Proffitt to score the second run of the inning before Donaldson’s sacrifice fly gave Brevard a 5-0 lead. The Pioneers threatened in the seventh, stranding two men on base, and finally scored on Donaldson with two outs in the ninth, but a flyout to center field ended the game and delivered the win to Brevard.
With its win, Brevard puts itself in position to finish as high as 14-15 in the league if it can sweep the series with two wins in tomorrow’s doubleheader. With the rest of the conference postponing their series until Saturday and Sunday, the Tornados have just two games remaining in league play while Tusculum has five to play and the other nine team have no fewer than six.
Brevard can neither assure itself of a South Atlantic Conference Tournament bid nor be eliminated from postseason contention tomorrow, but even one win would greatly improve its chances of earning a trip to the tournament for the first time since 2012. First pitch from Pioneer Park on Saturday is slated for 2:00 p.m.